Protest may halt grains exports from key Northern Brazilian port: industry

14.07.2017

Protests blocking a key road in Northern Brazil are causing millions of dollars in losses for grain traders and threaten to halt exports through terminals located in Para state, an industry association said Thursday.

Since early last week, farmers have blocked the BR 163 road, which crosses large portions of the Amazon forest. They are protesting against a decision by the federal government to maintain conservation areas that is expected to limit agriculture expansion in the region.

BR 163 is the only link between large farms in Northern Mato Grosso and new river terminals located in Miritituba district, in Para state. Bunge, ADM and other traders operate terminals in Miritituba, where soybeans and corn are unloaded from trucks and loaded on barges that transport grains to export terminals located in Belem/Barcarena, Para state.

The blockade has caused losses of $1.5 million for traders in Miritituba, according to an association, Abiove, that represents large soybean crushers and exporters in Brazil. Costs for delaying ship loadings in Barcarena or redirecting some of them to other ports are currently around $400,000/d, Abiove added.

"Losses grow day by day," Abiove said. "Grains delivery in Miritituba have ceased. If unloading is not resumed immediately, exports from Barcarena will have to be suspended."

The association said it is the government's responsibility to find a solution and ensure the road is reopened.

Miritituba terminals usually receives up to 30,000 mt/d of grains, according to Abiove.

Data by Williams shipping agency show 385,549 mt of soybeans and 379,000 mt of corn are expected to be shipped out of Belem/Barcarena terminals in coming days.

Bunge said it regrets the situation on BR 163.

"That is the only road to Miritituba terminal, so the blockage impacts the entire production chain significantly, including the company's loading schedule, which may cause incalculable losses," Bunge said in an emailed statement.

ADM did not immediately respond to a request for comments.


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